Monday, July 13, 2015

Trout Tails - July 13, 2015

It has been a weird summer here in the northeast, and I'm not just talking about the weather (more on that later).  Our spring was pretty dry, but summer has consisted of strong thunderstorms dumping inches of rain at a clip.  It seems like just about the time the rivers get into shape, boom, flood stage.  That being said, we have been able to float some streams that normally this time of year are out of the question, and the brook trout streams have been fishing awesome. 

Now to the other weird part....lets talk fishing etiquette, or lack of.  I'm the type that doesn't even like to see someone else when I'm fishing.  Sometimes this isn't possible, especially on some of the more popular rivers, but you can usually keep enough space to be comfortable and respectful of other anglers.  Unfortunately, not everyone abides by this, especially in Pennsylvania.  In the last week however, some of my faith has been restored.  Maybe it is because at this point in the season, only the serious guys seem to be out, and they tend to have a little more etiquette, as they would expect you to do the same for them.

Last week my dad and I were on a freestoner in the northcentral part of the state.  Most of the spring creeks were blown due to rain, so we decided to disappear into the mountains where we knew the water, despite being up, would be clear.  We had plans to fish the main stream for an hour or two for browns, then head up one of the tribs to chase some brookies.  We no sooner pull in, and a guy pulls up next to us.  I couldn't freaking believe it.  I was thinking, here we go, but we are going to disappear up the trib soon that almost no one fishes, so I can deal with it for an hour or two. 

I roll my window down and he asks, "you fishing here or one of the tribs".  Well, just him asking that, I knew he was going exactly where I wanted to go later.  I told him our plans for the day, and was shocked at his response.  He told us he was also going up the same trib we were later, but he would only fish up to the "second cabin" and leave the rest for us.  I couldn't believe it!  About two hours later, I see his truck go down the road, so we headed back to the vehicle to take our turn on the trib.  On my windshield is a note detailing how far up he fished, that they were eating anything that floats (typical for brookies), and to enjoy.  Eric, you have restored my faith!  If by some miracle you read this, thank you!  My dad had a blast catching some nice brookies on the zero weight!

Then this weekend, I went back up to explore some more.  Again, pull in, guy pulls in right next to me.  But he proceeds to ask where I am fishing, and says he will fish the big water if I'm going up the trib.  After talking to him for a few minutes, I find out he primarily fishes dries, but doesn't do any tying.  So I handed him a few flies, and we went our separate ways.  Again, another great day on the water.  Just wish I had run into him at the end of the day to see how he did, but he was gone by the time I reemerged from the canyon.  So thanks to the two guys I didn't want to see, but glad I did.

Below are some photos from the last week of floating for smallmouth and chasing brookies. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Trout Tails - June 18, 2015

Been a while since I've put anything up.  It has been a weird spring.  Once the weather finally broke, we have been suffering from low water or muddy water from thunderstorms.  Despite that, the fishing has been pretty good, with some of the best hatches I've seen in a long time.  I have been spending a lot of time on the water fishing and guiding, which is why I haven't had much time to get much up here.  I even had the honor of guiding the President and CEO of Straub Brewing and his family a few weeks ago on Big Pine.  If you never had the pleasure of meeting Bill Brock, he is an avid fly fisher and just a great guy.  Straub is also the main sponsor of the Slate Run Brown Trout Club that stocks some monster browns in Big Pine...the beer is really good too ;)  Be sure to support the local businesses, especially those that give back to us!

Last week my TU Chapter (Doc Fritchey TU) held its annual Home Waters event.  As always, it was a great time, and we had about 20 Vets who caught a pile of fish.  Below are some photos from the last couple months.  I hope to get some more stuff up here soon, and as always, September and Yellowstone are right around the corner! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Chile Presentation

I will be at Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited's monthly meeting on April 15, 2015 presenting a slide show and the video from the latest Chile trip. Come on out if you are in the Harrisburg area. Directions can be found on their website at Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Looking for something to do this weekend?
TCO is excited to announce the third annual Ice Breaker Event at ALL our TCO locations. TCO Bryn Mawr on March 13th, TCO Reading on March 14th and TCO State College location on March 15th. This year renowned guide and fly designer, Blane Chocklett will be headlining our event to discuss musky strategies. Blane has created revolutionary patterns like the Gummy Minnow and Game Changer to name a few. Blane is also one of the most sought out musky guides in the country. Please join us for our 2015 Ice Breaker Event and see why Blane Chocklett is one of the hottest names in the Fly Fishing Industry. This event is free to the public.

*TCO State College only:
Bill Anderson will be signing copies of his new book “Trout Boomer and the Little Juniata River,” Bill is one of the founding members and current president of the Little Juniata River Association. We are proud to have Bill Anderson join us for the day.

Full Details Here: 

In the Warren Area this weekend?   Check out the Fly Fishing Film Tour at Allegheny River Outfitters.  Discounted tickets are now available for $25.00 for the 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour if you email them at!
I'll also be there, and have some prints for sale.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Chile Video

Another "first person shooter" from TDF.  Hopefully it gives everyone an idea of what it is like to fish down there....awesome, but windy. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trout Tails - February 20, 2015

One of the questions I often get asked when people find out I’m heading almost 7,000 miles south to fish in Tierra del Fuego is “is it really that much better than here” or “don’t they have good trout fishing closer to home”?  The short answer to both of those questions is a resounding “YES”.  But these are the types of questions you brush off because they are coming from those outside the eccentric world of fly fisherman, and outside “the know”.  They usually say something along the lines of “it’s their summer down there, right?”.  When you tell them it is, but that their idea of sunshine and sand covered beaches is a little off, as the temps are usually in the 50’s, maybe lower, the wind blows about 30 mph on a day with a “slight breeze”, and then there are the random rain, hail, and snow storms that can crop up at any time, and did I mention the wind?  You tell them that you will be doing all this while sleeping in a tent, showering about every 5th day, eating dried pasta or some other easy to preserve meal served “hot” off the single burner gas stove, and prepared in the back of the car to keep the wind from blowing the whole contraption over, they start to look at you with that look.  Those of you that fish for an addiction know the one.   That “you are out of your freaking mind” look.  

“But the fish are big right”?  “Yes, yes they are”.   And there is no one around, no modern day distractions, no light pollution, no noise pollution, peace, solitude, you get the idea.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the conveniences of modern life, but every once and a while, more often than not, I need to unplug.  John Gierach wrote that “ there’s an art to being unaccountable without ultimately ending up sleeping on a park bench.  It involves the rare ability to check out indefinitely while leaving open the very real likelihood that you’ll check back in at some point.  (Not forgetting that reentry can be a time-consuming shock to the system).”    And so it was that the opportunity presented itself again, to check out, and spend 25 days with my amigo Herb (I feel obligated to break into what little Spanish I know for this report) in one of the most beautiful places in the world, chasing brown trout where measuring tapes are useless and nets with scales serve a purpose, throwing foam hoppers that fish have never seen (real or alive), into a headwind that makes it an almost if not completely impossible task, on meandering spring creeks that look like there should be a 3-5lb brown trout in every lie (and there is).  

When the wind becomes too much to throw the hopper, usually about the time you realize you are having difficulty staying upright, it becomes time to switch to the bugger.  The results are the same, although there is something much more poetic about watching a fish that size rise slowly through the crystal clear water column until his nose just breaks the surface, sipping the hopper in with the surface disturbance of a minnow……..until you set the hook.  Then the water literally explodes.  Your rod bends with a force that you are sure will just snap it in half, but somehow it doesn’t.   You struggle to gain a couple feet of line, to keep him from pulling you beneath that undercut that he desperately wants, and is making good progress of getting back to.  Sometimes you win, and are rewarded by holding in your freezing wind burned hands, a beautiful golden brown that makes you start to reconsider the 3X you have been fishing.  Sometimes you lose, again, reconsidering the 3X.   As this repeats itself at every bend, you have long forgotten the looks of those crazy people who earlier were considering having you committed to some sort of mental institution, thinking to yourself that this is what keeps you out of such a place. 

After several weeks, coincidentally about the same time we had pretty much run out of food and water, and were both physically beaten down, we decided it was time to check back in…… least temporarily.  After several days of processing photos and a few hot meals and showers, I already find myself pouring over maps and satellite images.  There are several streams and a handful of lakes that have already made the list of “if we can find a way to get in there, looks like it could be a lot of fun”.    But until that time comes, I guess I’ll start processing the video.  Although I’m sure that is not going to help the reentry process much.  So for those who have not already just skipped over the paragraphs above, below are a few (we probably shot near a thousand) of the still photos from the 4 cameras and 5 video cameras we had in tow.  I will try to get the video up soon, but the process of compressing 10 hours of video into 10 minutes can be a bit time consuming.  As always, I hope you enjoy the photos.  Remember the old adage, “it’s better to die with fishing memories, than to live with fishing dreams”.  

Refueling!  Its hard to explain how big a deal this is.  The next closest place to get fuel is 5 hours away, in the wrong direction.


5lbs on a foam hopper.  What more could you want.


It's not big, at its deepest point it may be up to your chest, but it holds 5-8lb+ browns.....and lots of them.

Another sunset from our tents, overlooking the lake.


No matter how many times I see them, still find it wild to be chasing trout where there are flamingos around.

Andean Condor

Mi Amigo Alejandro

Lago Deseado

Little further south this time.  Yes that is Antarctica just to the south. 

RARE calm morning at Lago Fagnano.

Another gourmet meal in production.

Lago Fagnano
Last beer, trip over.    

Tres Amigos

Special thanks to Alejandro Cardenas and Estancia Cameron Lodge.  Also to Simms for making waders and coats that can stand up to the conditions down there, and Sage and Rio for making lines and rods that can do the same!